Bulldogs Look For 15th-Straight Non-Conference Win Saturday
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Homecoming will take place this Saturday night at Davis Wade Stadium as the undefeated No. 15 Mississippi State Bulldogs (6-0, 3-0 SEC) host Middle Tennessee State University (4-2, 2-1 Sun Belt).
Kickoff for the final nonconference clash of 2012 is set for 6 p.m. CT, with a national television broadcast on ESPN2. Fans not able to catch the action on television can listen to Jim Ellis, Matt Wyatt and John Correro call the game on the Mississippi State Radio Network and via Sirius Radio (Channel 194) and XM Radio (Channel 199).
Saturday's football game between Middle Tennessee and Mississippi State will mark the fifth meeting between the two schools on the gridiron. The series, which began in 1999, is led by MSU, 4-0. The Bulldogs defeated the Raiders in Starkville, 40-7, in 1999 in what was the first-ever game for MT as a FBS member. Middle Tennessee returned to Starkville in 2000 and lost in a shootout to the Bulldogs, 61-35. Both teams combined for 1,057 yards of total offense (MSU 530, MT 527) but the Blue Raiders had four turnovers. In 2008, MSU won 31-22 in Starkville and also took the 2009 game in Murfreesboro, 27-6.
The Bulldogs, ranked 12th in the first BCS standings of 2012, are looking to start 7-0 for just the second time in the 113-year history of the program. Should MSU extend the third-longest winning streak in the FBS, the Maroon and White would have to win their 15th-straight non-conference, which would rank second in school history behind an 18-game stretch from 1941-47.
State is led by midseason All-American corner Johnthan Banks, who Thursday became the first player in school history to be named a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award. For the season, he has been thrown at 29 times in man coverage, allowing just 17 catches for 136 yards (4.7 YPA) and zero touchdowns, intercepting three passes, forcing a fumble, recovering a fumble and breaking up two passes.
Offensively, MSU is anchored by junior quarterback Tyler Russell, who is one of five FBS quarterbacks with double-digit touchdown passes and less than two interceptions. Under the leadership of Russell behind center, the Bulldogs' offense has scored at least 25 points in each of the first six games for the first time in the 113 years of the program.
After Saturday's non-conference battle, MSU goes on the road to take on defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Alabama. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT and broadcast is set for ESPN, with the Mississippi State Radio Network also covering.
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